The Seahawks have quietly signed Blair Walsh, who was unemployed for the second half of last year. And he’s more than just a camp leg – he’ll probably be their kicker on opening day.
Walsh isn’t as good as Steven Hauschka, but he’s cheaper. Hauschka made $2.7 million last year and is a free agent. Bob Condotta of the The Seattle Times suggests Walsh probably signed for about $1 million.
Key will be how much Hauschka costs. The Seahawks might try to move his salary down, but that might not be something he’s willing to do.
The other factor here is which one of these guys can re-find his stroke. They’ve both been successful kickers in the past, but they’ve struggled recently.
Hauschka has generally been very good in his six years with the Seahawks, hitting almost 89 percent of his field goal attempts. But he’s struggled with extra points since the rules change moving them back, missing 10 in two years. Of the 32 kickers with at least 40 extra points in the last two years, both Hauschka and Walsh rank in the bottom 4 in accuracy.
|EXTRA POINTS SINCE 2015|
Walsh is 27 – 5 years younger. He’s got a cannon leg (he went 10-for-10 on field goal attempts from 50-plus yards back in 2012).
But Walsh needs to get his confidence back. He hit only 26 of 35 field goals in 2014, and he was only 12 of 16 last year before they cut him. He also, of course, famously pulled a 27-yard game winner against the Seahawks in a playoff loss in January, 2016.
So Walsh has been just under 75 percent in those 2014 and 2016 seasons. In his three other NFL seasons (2012, 2013, 2015), he’s been just as good as Hauschka, hitting 95 of 107 (just short of 89 percent).
Expectation here is that the Seahawks will bring Walsh and a youngster or two to camp, letting them compete for the job. If they can get Hauschka to agree to something less than $2 million per year, he’d probably be welcomed into that competition. But Hauschka has done enough that he’s probably more likely to sign with some other franchise.